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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: April ::
Re: Texts; Funeral Elegy
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0318.  Thursday, 25 April 1996.

(1)     From:   David M Richman <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 24 Apr 1996 12:14:41 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0304 Re: Texts

(2)     From:   Richard J Kennedy <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 24 Apr 1996 08:08:30 -0700
        Subj:   Funeral Elegy


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David M Richman <
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Date:           Wednesday, 24 Apr 1996 12:14:41 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 7.0304 Re: Texts
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0304 Re: Texts

This is a contribution to the "texts" thread.  Ever since I acquired the Oxford
Text Archive Shakespeare collection, I have been basing scripts for our
Shakespeare productions at the University of New Hampshire on those texts,
which reproduce in electronic format the Quartos and Folio. When time permits
(it does not always permit) I bring alternate readings from Q or F texts to the
actors working on production.

At present, I have a touring *Romeo and Juliet* that requires a running time of
ninety minutes.  The script from which I started was the 1597 Quarto.  I kept
all the text's cuts, except for the "gallop apace" speech, which I restored
from the Folio text.  After a few days of getting used to, the student
performers were not hurt, and were indeed helped, by old spelling.  Rhetorical
punctation was especially helpful.

"And none but fooles doe weare it, cast it off.
She speakees but she sayes nothing.  What of that?"

We ignore the silent final E's, as in "doe" which we pronoun e as if it were
spelled "do".  We don't pause after "speakes" but rather after "nothing."

This is a small example.  I give the highest recommendation to Oxford Text
Archive as a basis for production scripts.

By the way, we used the 1597Q version of the scene between Romeo, Juliet, and
the Friar, which features the wonderful stage direction: Enter Juliet somewhat
fast, and and embraceth Romeo.

David Richman
University of New Hampshire

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard J Kennedy <
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Date:           Wednesday, 24 Apr 1996 08:08:30 -0700
Subject:        Funeral Elegy

Brian Vickers (Centre for Renaissance Studies, Zurich) wrote a long letter to
the New York Times defending Shakespeare against the Funeral Elegy (TLS April
12).

Vickers finds a likeness between W.S. and Simon Wastell, who wrote an elegy
called "The Muses Thankfulness", 1627.  My notion is that John Ford wrote the
"Funeral Elegy" six years after writing "Time's Memorial", 1606, and we both
give our reasons for thinking these choices are better than believing that
Shakespeare wrote it.  Shaxicon has compared neither of these poems with the
Funeral Elegy.  It examined elegies only between the years 1610-1613.

So it seems to be two to one against Don Foster and Richard Abrams, insofar as
investigation of evidence goes.  Vickers and myself don't believe Shakespeare
wrote the FE, and we have read Shakespeare and presented alternative poets.
Shaxicon is ignorant of both these poets.

We would hope that some other obscure elegies might be brought to light to
compare with the Funeral Elegy. Someone wrote it, after all, and if Vickers and
myself are mistaken in our choices, continued searching is sure to find out the
author.  I would suggest that Foster-Abrams extend their search; 4 years is a
database that is nearly insignificant, a very small window to look through.

Therefore welcome to the quest.  If some sensible scholars with an ear for
poetry (this seems to be the dividing line) can uncover some other possible
writers of the Elegy, let them speak out.  Foster-Abrams may be pressed to look
about a bit more, and open up that database.  Shaxicon is in a tight corner and
not much light is coming through the window.
 

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